Montgomerie urged to take on Ryder Cup captaincy for 2010

Scot linked with surprise skipper's role if Jose Maria Olazabal decides to play on

A strange day here in the desert yesterday. First, a morning hailstorm gave this most summery of scenes a wintery feel. And later, even more bizarrely, it emerged that Colin Montgomerie could be persuaded to become the next Ryder Cup captain should Jose Maria Olazabal turn down the chance to lead Europe next year at Celtic Manor.

It had been believed that Montgomerie was a shoo-in for the captaincy in 2014 when the match takes place at Gleneagles, the course just up the road from his family home in Perthshire. But reports last night indicated that he has been urged to be ready to assume the role four years earlier in Wales.

At times like this it is normally wise to follow the old maxim that money talks and yesterday it indeed screamed that the Scot could be on the brink of a stunning appointment. Thousands poured on the 45-year-old in the wake of the three-hour meeting here on Tuesday night during which the players committee decided to make an announcement concerning Nick Faldo's successor in Dubai in a fortnight's time.

It is understood that if Olazabal wants it, then the position remains his, although the feeling is growing that the Spaniard is intent on having one last crack at making the team as a player after a horrendous spell of injury and illness. To many, Sandy Lyle would be the obvious choice if Ollie said no and that included Montgomerie, himself, who has been a vocal supporter of his fellow Scot.

But that was before he heard the level of hostility towards the 50-year-old at Tuesday's meeting. in the wake of the Faldo fiasco in Kentucky, Lyle is considered out of touch with the current crop of players and it could well be that Montgomerie was convinced that his time could be now and that it would be unwise to wait until he broke through the 50-barrier.

Certainly the level of secrecy which has existed since the meeting suggests there is something seismic in the offing and in golfing terms the rise of Captain Montgomerie would fit the bill. If nothing else, the whispers served to overshadow what was an enthralling first day of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Oli Fisher highlighted his talent when a 67 took him to the upper reaches of this leaderboard, although afterwards the 20-year-old from Essex was forced to accept the inevitable comparisons with Rory McIlroy, his fellow precocious phenomenon.

While Fisher's progress since turning professional at 18-year-old has been little short of exceptional – top 60 in the Order of Merit on just his second season – that of McIlroy has been a few par fives beyond exceptional. In his 16 months among the paid ranks, the child star from the Belfast town of Holywood has become the youngest player ever to break in the world's top 40. It is fair to comment that the 19-year-old has stolen a march on his friend. "Golf is one of those games where it happens quicker for some people," said Fisher, who at 16 became the youngest player ever to play on the Walker Cup. "Rory's a great player and we all knew he was going to go out and burn it up straight away. Me, I'll just got to go my own way at my own pace."

His morning's work was definitely not snail-like. Armed with a short-game refined by his coaches over the winter break, Fisher fired six birdies around this impressive layout and as he did so managed to ignore the distraction of a two-hour suspension caused by that rarest things – a hailstorm in the desert. "I was on the fourth and the green turned white - just like that," he said. "It was freaky. I've never seen anything like it."

By the time McIlroy went out the sun was glaring down. Alas, only for so long; McIlroy managed to get in 13 holes before darkness fell. Yet as if to underline his "anything that Oli can do" propensity, he had strode to four-under, one behind Fisher and two of the pace set by the Swedes Johan Edfors and Mikael Lundberg.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
filmSony could have made a cult classic
Life and Style
fashionThe essential guide to all the designer Christmas sale dates
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas